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ENVIRONMENT REPORT – May 2, 2003: North American Pollution Report - 2003-05-02

This is the VOA Special English Environment Report.

A new study has both good news and bad news about pollution in North America. It found that industrial releases into the environment dropped five percent between nineteen-ninety-five and two-thousand. The report shows that some of North America’s largest polluters reduced their pollution during this period.

But not so with smaller polluters. From nineteen-ninety-eight to two-thousand, smaller polluters put thirty-two percent more chemicals into the air, ground and water. This finding is based on a group of fifteen-thousand industrial centers across North America. These facilities release up to one-hundred tons of chemicals a year. They represent the majority of polluters in the United States and Canada.

The study also examined three-thousand-six-hundred facilities that release more than one-hundred tons of chemicals a year. These polluters reported a seven-percent reduction in pollutants between nineteen-ninety-eight and two-thousand. However, they still were responsible for ninety percent of the total pollution.

Industrial polluters include factories, electric power stations, chemical producers, mines and places that treat dangerous wastes.

The report is from the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. This group was established as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The commission found more than three-point-three million tons of chemicals released into the environment in two-thousand. Some of these chemicals have been linked to cancer. Others cause developmental or reproductive problems.

The report says more than one-third of the releases in two-thousand came from five American states and the Canadian province of Ontario. The five states were Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana. The commission notes that Mexico has not required polluters to report their chemical releases, but is developing such a system.

Victor Shantora is acting head of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. He says it is sad to see such a large number of facilities releasing more pollution into the environment. He says small polluters might not make as much news as large ones, but their effect is being felt throughout North America.

This Special English Environment Report was written by George Grow.